Mommy’s Night Before Christmas
‘Twas the night before Christmas…
In this humorous take on the classic Christmas poem by Clement C. Moore, the concept of the serene night before Christmas is turned on its head. Instead of visions of sugar plums, the children are teething and playing loudly. There are presents to be wrapped and ornaments to be mended. Just when Mommy and Daddy take a moment to relax, a noise outside alerts them to a surprise visitor. But Mommy’s determined not to let anyone-not even Santa Claus himself-disturb the sleeping children on Christmas Eve.
Children and parents alike will be entertained and delighted by this new classic Christmas story! The perfect gift for all the moms who make Christmas so special.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m from a small city in Connecticut with lots of New England charm. It has a beautiful coastline on Long Island Sound and a quaint town green. It actually inspires a lot of the settings of my books. It was a great place to grow up, and now I’m raising my three boys here.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
It was a few nights before Christmas back when it was just the two boys. I was so exhausted all I could do was sit on the couch with my tea and my phone, even though I had so much to do. I thought of the famous Clement C. Moore poem “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and how it wasn’t anything like Christmas Eve with small children.
“The children were nestled all snug in their beds”…eventually, sure, but not after endless requests and sobbing! Mamma was settling down for “a long winter’s nap”…what mamma gets a good night’s sleep on Christmas Eve?
Before I knew it, I was typing away on my phone and out came the text for the poem “Mommy’s Night Before Christmas.” Originally, it was a yearly posting I did on my author blog (https://katielcarroll.com/blog/). I always envisioned how it could look as a picture book, so I finally decided to make it into one.
How do you create your characters?
For picture books, characters are often created from both the author’s and the illustrator’s vision. I gave Phoebe Cho, the illustrator, very little character description beyond the text of the story. It’s clear that she was able to see Mommy’s spunk and Daddy’s caring side and bring those to the illustrations. I really wanted her to able to explore in the artwork what she saw for the characters. I was amazed at how close they were to the characters I saw in my head!
What inspires and what got your started in writing?
Sad story warning. When I was 19, my younger sister, Kylene, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 16. I was in college on a very different career path, but her death made me question what I wanted to do with my life. The answer to that ended up being a children’s author. I wrote my first book, the YA fantasy Elixir Bound, to give her a fantasy adventure.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
As a mom writer, you’ve got to be flexible. You can most often find me writing at my kitchen table. I get up early twice a week and meet online with a writer friend. We do 25 minutes productivity sprints together. I’ve been known to write in the school car pickup line, at soccer practices, and on family car trips. So long as I have something to write with—my laptop, my second-hand Alphasmart, or a pen and notebook—I can get the writing done.
What do you like to read?
Young adult fantasy made me the reader I am today, and I love all kinds of children’s literature. I truly believe that all adults should be reading picture books. The stories and the artwork are just amazing and inspiring. There’s a picture book for everyone! I have a series of posts on TikTok (@katielcarrollauthor) of picture books adults should be reading. One of my goals with Mommy’s Night Before Christmas was to create a picture book that is as much for the adults as it is for the children.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
For picture book writers, the best advice I can give is to read a ton of picture books. I say at least a hundred a year, and mostly ones that have come out in the last 5 years. Then break those books down. Analyze what text shows up on each page, how the text works along with the illustrations, and what makes you want to turn to the next page. Also, notice what the illustrations bring to the story. Think about what you might be able to cut or adjust in your text to let the illustrations have room to tell the story.
Anything else you’d like to share?
A small warning for Santa on Christmas Eve. Nobody better wake my kids, and I don’t care if that lands me on the naughty list!